The House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigation recently held a hearing to examine the Health Resources and Services Administration’s (HRSA) oversight of the 340B Drug Pricing Program. Following the hearing, ASCO sent a letter to leadership of the subcommittee recommending changes to the program to better serve the oncology community.
The 340B Drug Pricing Program (340B) requires manufacturers to provide substantial discounts for sales of covered drugs to eligible entities in order for the manufacturer to qualify for Medicaid reimbursement. Given the integral role that drug therapies continue to play in treating patients with cancer, 340B profoundly impacts the delivery of clinical oncology care in the United States and provides valuable resources that health care institutions can use to promote access to high-quality, high-value care for patients with cancer.
In a policy statement on 340B, ASCO noted that key program definitions—including the definition of a “patient”—lack adequate specificity, making the program susceptible to growth beyond the original scope intended by Congress. ASCO’s letter commends recent efforts by Congress and the Administration to curb such growth, but the society asserts that additional measures are needed to ensure that 340B’s scope stays in-line with the program’s purpose.
ASCO’s letter urges Congress to:
- Work with HRSA to establish 340B eligibility for all oncology providers that demonstrate a meaningful commitment to providing care to underserved and low-income populations.
- Ensure there are more federal funds for oversight and enforcement of HRSA’s proposed standards for audits of covered entities and manufacturers.
- Continue working to require transparency from covered entities regarding the use of funds obtained through participation in 340B.
- Discontinue use of the Disproportionate Share Hospital (DSH) adjustment to determine eligibility for providers to participate in 340B.